Friday, December 6, 2019

Psychological Skills Training for Snowboarding free essay sample

Psychological skills training (PST) can be used for a number of different purposes whether related to sports, exercise, or just plain psychological counseling of one’s self. Depending upon your desired outcome from a PST program your script may help with your overall health and fitness, or to overcome situations in which you feel anxiety and pressure from. People’s lack of knowledge in PST is the main reason coaches don’t feel confident when teaching this skill set to their athletes or clients. They go about the approach to coaching in a particular setting by giving a concentration cue to a player as he/she is completing the exercise or taking the final shot or swing. What we forget to realize is the player/person isn’t going to be able to react to these cues if they haven’t practiced relaxation skills for that specific situation. Another reason why sport and exercise participants neglect PST is because of their misconception they do not have enough time to practice these PST skills to enhance their performance, little do they know it takes 10-20 minutes each day to improve these skills. Every sport, or exercise program requires a unique skill to accomplish the task or competition at hand. This is why I chose snowboarding because not only is it my new found passion, but it is a very individualized sport which requires incredible focus and relaxation. Without focus and relaxation a snowboarders routine may be affected during his/her freestyle run lowering your overall score and keeping you off the podium. Many of the elite snowboarders, including Shaun White are using PST training to prepare themselves for competitions. Most recently we’ve seen this in the 2011 Winter X games where we saw Shaun White go on to become the only 4 time repeat winner of Super pipe. Without proper mental visualization, relaxation and preparation he may not have been able to repeat this year given his age and the rising skill levels of his competitors. Relaxation Script Relaxation in snowboarding is everything both before and during a competition because of the small margin of error in extreme sports. Progressive Muscle relaxation (PMR) can be used to cope with anxiety, stress, and muscle tightness all three of which play a major role in a snowboarders ability to perform and land a trick in competition. Too much arousal before competition can lead to a rushed feeling which is never good in the extreme sports world. This is why PMR can play such a critical role in effectively controlling these sensations one may feel before and during competition. In snowboarding your lower extremities and core dictate most of the movement required for a trick. This is why we will concentrate on the relaxing the feet and legs first before core, and finally the upper extremities. The morning of competition set aside 30 minutes of alone time in a dimly lit room and have no outside distractions including other people. Wear comfortable clothes which will not interrupt thought process during the relaxation exercise. Lay completely flat with your arms at your sides and relax your entire body. Starting with your toes curl them all the way in holding them in a curled position for 10 seconds before releasing them halfway and holding for an additional 10 seconds. Once you’ve held your toes in those two positions for a total of 20 seconds relax them completely allowing the tension to release. This process should take a total of 30-45 seconds. Moving on to the calf and feet muscles push your feet and toes outwards tensing your calf muscles, continue holding them in this position for 10 seconds before allowing them to release tension to half. Hold for an additional 10 seconds in this position before allowing your calves and feet to relax. Give your calves and feet a total of 20 seconds to relax. Once you’ve worked your toes, feet, and calves we will concentrate on the two largest muscles in your legs the quadriceps, and hamstrings. Laying flat on your back with your legs straightened raise your legs 6 inches from the ground and hold with tension for 10 seconds concentrating predominantly on your quads, and hamstrings. Release this tension halfway and hold for an additional 10 seconds before releasing tension completely and lowering your legs to the ground. Further relaxing for another 10-15 seconds once your legs are lying flat on the floor. There is still one final muscle to release tension which is considered part of the legs and this is your Gluteus Maximus otherwise known as your buttocks. Laying completely flat squeeze both cheeks and hold for 10 seconds before releasing tension to halfway pausing to hold for an additional 10 seconds. Once you’ve done this you can allow them to relax completely for 10-15 seconds. After you’ve completed your feet and leg exercises we will move on to the core or abdominal range. Start by tensing your abdomen and oblique’s for 10 seconds before releasing tension to halfway for an added 10 seconds. Finally release all tension in your core and lay there for a period of 10-15 seconds of relaxation. For the next exercise roll over so you are facing the ground in a pushup position. Push yourself up from the ground to the highest point in a pushup tensing the chest and shoulder muscles. Hold this position for 10 seconds before lowering yourself halfway down and pausing for another 10 seconds keeping tension in the shoulders and chest. After 10 seconds lower yourself to the ground allowing complete relaxation for 10-15 seconds. Remain lying on your chest facing the ground; tense your upper back muscles focusing on your trapezius and posterior deltoids holding for 10 seconds. Release tension half way and hold for an additional 10 seconds before allowing your trapezoids and posterior deltoids to relax completely for the final 10 seconds. Roll back over so you are lying on your back completely flat and relaxed. Tense your mid to lower back muscles for a period of 10 seconds before letting them relax intermediately for another 10 seconds. Finally release the tension so you are lying completely flat and in a relaxed state for 10-15 seconds. Next tense your neck muscles bringing your head to your right shoulder holding that position for 10 seconds before releasing half tension and holding for another 10 seconds. Once the seconds has expired return your head to a centered position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat the previous steps now concentrating on bringing your head to left shoulder. Once you’ve completed this and have returned your head to a centered position and relaxed for 15-20 seconds bring your head forward pressing your chin into your chest for 10 seconds. Release half the tension and hold for an extra 10 seconds, finally allow your head to return to its resting state for 15-20 seconds. Lastly grit your jaw muscles as if you are going to bite your tongue and hold the tension for 10 seconds before releasing the pressure halfway and holding for another 10 seconds. Loosen the muscles in your jaw so there is no further tension, once your done lay there fully relaxed. The final part of this relaxation exercise will be for you to lie there and feel the relaxation your body is experiencing after completion of the exercise. Open your eyes after 10-15 seconds and slowly bring your knees to your chest and roll on to your butt so you are in an upright position. Sit there for 20-30 seconds until you’ve regained full consciousness, once you’ve completed this step stand up slowly regaining all senses throughout the entire body. Motivational Specific (MS) For a professional snowboarder usually the end reward means winning either the X games or the Winter Olympics. Sure there are other competitions but these are the two competitions which really matter when it comes down to it with endorsements and sponsors. These always aren’t the easiest of competitions to qualify for either, so for beginners picturing themselves winning a local competition is more realistic and attainable. From there you can continue to work your way up the pro tour visualizing yourself winning the next big competition within your grasp. MS imagery is also good for visualizing the perfect run, or landing every trick you’ve included in your routine for the contest you’re competing in. Visualizing your trick routine for a snowboarder is one of his/her most important psychologically important aspects to their sport because every trick has to be precise otherwise there are serious repercussions. To start begin by visualizing the takeoff and landing of one specific trick, if your able to land this trick in reality move on. From their link other tricks from jump to jump slowly building up your routine and trick set. Once your able to link tricks together is when you will be able to compete at a professional level. For a snowboarder he/she has to train all year around which means following winter to continue to hone their skill set. Motivational General Mastery (MGM) You’re going to wreck in the sport of snowboarding and it’s something you’re going to have to get used to otherwise it’s not your sport. MGM is a great tool for snowboarding because you have to overcome so much in competitive snowboarding to become successful. You may take dead last one competition because of two minor errors and podium the next round. So for a snowboarder to overcome previous errors in competition to win is a prime example of MGM. Confidence is also a key component in Snowboarding because of the fearlessness it takes to complete some tricks required of Pro Snowboarders. So for a Snowboarder to imagining themselves gaining success builds confidence and drives their positivism so they can become mentally tough in competition. Motivational General Arousal (MGA) Arousal isn’t always the best for extreme sports but if harnessed correctly it can become a unbeatable tool. Some snowboarders choose to listen to music when going through a run because it psyches them up and because they’ve ran through the trick routine before to the same music. The music erases the fear and anxiety one might encounter when performing a trick routine because it blocks the sound of outside distractions out. Once they’ve learned to block outside distractions they can zone into the music and the terrain park or half pipe becomes like any other they’ve practiced or competed on. Cognitive Specific (CS) In snowboarding one trick may break or make the contest for a snowboarder so for them to use CS imagery to visualize the perfect take off, rotation, speed, grab, flip, and landing is a perfect analogy. Although one trick won’t win you the contest it may get you recognized because you were the first one to complete it. Some of the best snowboarders in the world invented their own tricks and wouldn’t of been able to so without first visualizing the trick happening before performing it. Because of them the sport of snowboarding has been taken to new heights in terms of difficulty and skill and the envelope continues to be pushed by new riders. Cognitive General (CG) CG is one of the most important imagery exercises because snowboarders must rehearse an entire run in their head many times before performing in competition. In most competitions riders get two runs to achieve a score, and whoever has the best score from the judges after two runs is declared the winner. You may have thought your routine would win you the contest but another snowboarder competing has a better routine than you, and you’re forced re think your entire approach on the next run. You cannot stress the importance enough how much CG plays a role in a Snowboarders pre/during competition routines. For my mental imagery script I’m going to use a Professional Snowboarder at the 2012 Vancouver Winter Olympics competing in the Super Pipe Competition. The rider will use CS to strategize their first routine for qualifying not always performing their best or most elaborate trick only concentrating on linking together a solid run which will put them past the qualifying round. They use MS to visualize qualifying so they can compete in the finals and MGA to rehearse the routine in their head to the sound of music. Not only do they visualize reaching the finals but having the spotlight on them, thousands of fans cheering, with numerous sponsors watching them compete to gain the confidence of sponsors and fans so they can be positive throughout the run. Once they’ve qualified they will again use CS to incorporate their best tricks into one trick routine to win the competition. They will again employ the same techniques aforementioned above before they physically compete in the finals. Their first run may not go as planned or another rider like I said may outshine them. The rider must re-strategize his entire run then increasing the difficulty of tricks involved in the routine again using CS. The rider uses all 5 senses before the Final to put together the perfect run to win the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics using MGA to psyche themselves up, MS to picture themselves winning, MGM to remain positive throughout the competition even when their first run didn’t go as planned. CS would be used to imagine landing every trick of the run and CG to plan all tricks included in the final routine to win them the gold medal. Goal Setting Framework Goal setting is essential in the sport of Snowboarding because it encourages riders to break records and set new standards in the professional ranks. Without goals the sport would never have progressed as fast as it has gaining acceptance as an Olympic Sport only in recent years. Setting goals helps a rider progress from one competition to the next increasing the degree of difficulty in competitions they choose to enter. Outcome, performance, and process goals are all important components in helping a rider achieve success as a professional Snowboarder. In Snowboarding most of the money a rider will make comes from their sponsors or endorsements, the competitions provide the media attention companies want for advertising which in turn pays the athletes, not the contests themselves. The goals will be made for a current professional Snowboarder once again competing with the end reward being an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2012 Vancouver games. Outcome goals: â€Å"To win the Super Pipe competition at the 2012 Winter Olympics in Vancouver† Performance/Process goals: I will increase my world ranking so there is no doubt I will not be able to compete in the 2012 Winter Olympics. I will win the US OPEN I will win the X GAMES I will podium in every contest I enter I will gain the sponsorship of a company and sign and endorsement deal to make a career out of snowboarding. Whatever is asked of me by my sponsor I would like to sign with I will do to ensure they have my full cooperation of my talents I will practice my trick routines physically and mentally to prepare myself for competition so I can perform at the highest level for my sponsors. I will work out daily so I can remain in top physical condition so when it comes time for competition I’m ready. For the outcome goal of the 2012 Winter Olympics you will set this date for the final day of competition so you know the final result on that day. The evaluation will be determined upon my placing in the Super Pipe competition. If I win I will be rewarded a medal at the ceremony following the contest. The highest reward would obviously be winning a Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics. The performance goals will be set oriented around the dates of the competitions so you can evaluate the rider upon my final performance. The goals will be rewarded with the final outcome of the competitions; if I am to podium the end reward would obviously be placing or winning the event. Process goals will be set weekly by your manager or by yourself in regards to what is expected of you each week by your sponsor. These goals will be evaluated by your sponsor and the media because they decide whether you make the cover, video, or contest so you can rep their brand. The goals will be rewarded with compensation from your sponsor and endorsements when you succeed and meet these goals. The rewards can come in various forms in the Snowboarding Industry, new clothes, gear, cars, trophies, medals, and even acting careers. Self-Talk Self-talk is one of the most important aspects to Snowboarding because a rider must overcome fears he/she may encounter when performing a trick or a series of tricks. When a rider is to perform in a Super Pipe contest before each trick is performed they must tell themselves in order which trick to perform at the right moment in competition. These self-talk cues are to help a rider perform the tricks in the routine in which they scripted for the competition. In snowboarding I will be using self-talk to remind myself during times of practice and competition when I falter to regain my composure. It may be something as simple to breath or as complex as telling myself to do a backside 1080 degree rotation. Using self-talk methods I will help use short phrases to help achieve my desired outcome of winning the 2012 Winter Olympics. Negative thought: â€Å"I won’t be able to land my last trick with these icy conditions† Countering to positive: â€Å" I’ve landed the same trick in worse conditions and If I’m unable to do so I won’t qualify† Neutral Statement: â€Å" Concentrate on landing every trick in my routine and let the judges worry about the final score† Negative thought: â€Å"If I fail to pass the qualifying round at this competition I won’t make the finals† Countering to positive: â€Å"Don’t worry about qualifying just go out there and complete your run and let the rest handle itself† Neutral Statement: â€Å"If I don’t qualify I have another opportunity at the next competition, if I do qualify my overall ranking will increase† Negative thought: â€Å" The competition in my qualifying group is going to be very hard to beat† Countering to Positive: â€Å"If I beat out my competitors in this group I know for certain I can compete in the finals† Neutral Statement: â€Å"Right now I’m questioning my abilities but I’m in this competition for a reason† Negative thought: â€Å" If I don’t win this competition my bonus check won’t be as much from my endorsements† Countering to positive: â€Å"I can’t wait to take my winnings and go on a vacation away from this snow for a couple days to clear my mind† Neutral Statement: â€Å"The opportunity for winning will present itself again this isn’t your only chance† Negative thought: â€Å"This competition is nationally televised if I wreck my whole family will see me take a fall† Countering to positive: â€Å"Every one of my family members is going to be watching this event and I can feel their support for me† Neutral Statement: â€Å"Even if I do wreck I’m still getting my face on T. V. and there is going to be opportunities to be on camera in the future. I plan to stop the negative self-talk whenever I take a fall instead of saying a swear word directed at myself or I can’t do it. I will tell myself â€Å"You got it† before I attempt a trick confirming to myself you’ve done it before what’s so different about this time. When I’m bracing for the landing I will say to myself â€Å"Stick it† to make sure I nail the landing every time. Gradually I will I begin to use other positive self-talk to encourage myself in competition when I’m riding in competition and practice. After completing the PST program I discovered how much I like the sport psychology field and the psychological training it takes to compete in a sport like snowboarding. Having only been snowboarding for 2 seasons now I’m only in the beginning stages of helping my own PST program to complete tricks and visualize the run ahead of me. I can only imagine the amount of time an elite professional snowboarder takes to prepare themselves before competition through a PST program. This is why I chose snowboarding because of the mental visualization to invent, attempt, and to complete a trick. Every year riders are landing more impossible tricks than the previous years because of the cognitive specific imagery professional snowboarders put into their sport. The sport is so individualized it takes a special kind of trick to win elite competitions and this is why I think sport psychology is undervalued in the pro snowboarding world. Sure I could have chosen a field I had spent many years perfecting such as personal training, or football, but I didn’t feel either had the same psychological skills it takes to carry out a trick routine in competition. I think PST is undervalued in the sport of snowboarding and I would like to continue on to graduate school in the Sport Psychology field because it’s fairly new and there is a need for it considering the mind control one must have to perform the extreme tricks required of a professional snowboarder. Recently I went snowboarding with my brother in Washington and as I was riding the chairlift up the mountain in anticipation for my next run I would visualize myself cruising down the next run hitting every feature on the way performing a trick here and there landing it and continuing on down the mountain. Whether in a leisure setting or in a competition setting the need for a program such as PST in snowboarding is something I think we will begin to see more often. Learning about PST has got my wheels turning looking ahead for future schooling in relationship to the sport psychology field because of my new found interest in it. I think the field is still extremely undeveloped and we will begin to see people emerging in this field in the near future. I hope to be one of these individuals developing in the field of Sport Psychology with the yet to come success of it.

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